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Almost Rans

RPG Superstar™ General Discussion

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015 aka michaeljpatrick

I'm pretty sure in previous years we've done threads about the items we almost submitted. I didn't see one this time around so I figured I'd start one.

My runner-up item:

Gown of Spiders:

Gown of Spiders
Aura strong transmutation; CL 12th
Slot body; Price 24,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.
This gossamer dress is finely made and eerily beautiful. Upon close examination it is embroidered with a spider web pattern.

The wearer gains tremorsense and darkvision up to 60 feet as well as a +4 competence bonus to Craft (alchemy).

Once per day the wearer can transform into a swarm of spiders as per the swarm skin spell but with the following exceptions. No other type of swarm besides spiders is accessible through this spell. Instead of leaving bones and gear behind those things are transmuted along with the wearer.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, swarm skin Cost 12,000 gp

I decided not to use it because there are already several spider-themed items (although using them all in conjunction would be AWESOME). Plus it is basically a watered down version of a spell with with some sensory and skill bonuses thrown in. I almost gave it Spider Step as well, but there is (I think) a rule against granting class abilities and feats.

The item I will submit/may have already submitted a week ago will hopefully be even cooler.

Anyone else have a runner-up item they'd like to share?

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

We usually post these after the competition so as to not distract from the main rounds.

You will probably get a lot of posts then, but not so at the present moment in time.

As a quick note of feedback whilst I'm here - it comes into direct conflict with the +5 cloak of resistance at the price it is set at, and for me, would lose every time against that item.

Your initial description can be reworded to save on words:

"This gossamer dress is finely made and eerily beautiful. Upon close examination it is embroidered with a spider web pattern." (20 words)


"This eerily beautiful, finely made gossamer dress is embroidered with a spider web pattern." (same info, 14 words, and avoids the old meme of "on closer examination..." - yuk!)

Transforming into a swarm is the cool power, yet it comes after the not cool boring bonuses. Put the cool power first.

Also, the cool power could be very dangerous to adopt, if the enemy has area of effect casters, which you would be vulnerable to as a swarm I believe (typing from memory of swarms, so not 100% sure), could mean you start taking extra damage by the bucket of dice load :)

Those were my quick and initial thoughts.

Please everyone else, I will happily comment on other entries and non entries, but after the main competition please - to be fair to the finalists whoever they may be.

I like the idea, with Anthony's suggestion, the beginning description could be tightened up.

Also, why the +4 competence check to Alchemy? Are spiders inherently good at that skill? Are gowns what alchemists normally wear when they craft?

I will be posting some of mine after the main competition.

Star Voter 2013

Yeah, I was confused on the bonus to Craft (alchemy).

I'll post almosts afterwards.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013 aka Virgil

I'm posting mine now because I'm unlikely to even remember this thread once the competition starts. I was tempted to submit my Assault Apparatus as well; but the philosophy behind the price is unlikely to be accepted.


Assault Apparatus
Aura Strong evocation; CL 19th
Slot None; Price 90,000gp; Weight 24 tons
This item seems an inert 30’ stone golem, with a secret catch (Search DC 20) that opens a hatch to the torso. A large character (or two medium) who crawls inside finds ten levers.

The device has the following characteristics: hp 200; hardness 20; Spd 50ft; Space/Reach 15 ft/15 ft; AC 26 (-2 size, -4 Dex, +22 natural); Atk +22 melee (2d12+15, 2 slams), +8 ranged touch (4d6, 2 light rays, 100' max range); Force Beam (10' wide, 100' long line, 16d6 magic missile damage, Fortitude DC 18 for half, 1d4 round cooldown).

Lever : Function
1 : Charge and attack target
2 : Attack adjacent target
3 : Total defense
4 : Withdraw
5 : Force Beam at target
6 : Light rays at target
7 : Stand or drop prone
8 : Open/close ‘eyes’
9 : Lift/drop adjacent target
10 : Open/close hatch

Operating a lever is a full-round action, and no lever may be operated more than once per round. A verbal command is required, in Undercommon, to designate a target or direction for movement when a lever is pulled. If none is provided, a valid target is chosen randomly or a 1d8 is rolled for the direction moved. The device can function in water up to 900 feet deep or in total vacuum. It holds enough air for a crew of two to survive 1d4+1 hours.

Construction Craft Wondrous Item, Craft Construct, animate objects, continual flame, web, magic missile, searing light, creator must have 12 ranks in the Knowledge (architecture and engineering) skill; Cost 45,000gp

Shadow Lodge Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

I did 12 versions of my item until I settled on the version I liked/was satisfied with. The item I entered has a lot of cut and paste from previous versions.

My secondary item, a gnomish folding ladder (which uses some of the same naming conventions of the item I entered) used to threaten people didn't go more then one draft before I decided the idea I went with was better.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014, Champion Voter 2015

Andrew Judd wrote:
Assault Apparatus

Just a few template errors:

1) don't capitalize the aura strength
2) don't capitalize the type of slot used
3) add a space between 90,000 and gp
4) weight should be in lbs.
5) lots of formatting errors in the characteristics
6) magic missile is not a damage type, but force is
7) forgot to italicize spells

Personal take:

price is too cheap
more description of the golem's appearance would be nice
too many levers, but limited movement levers

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014, Champion Voter 2015

michaeljpatrick wrote:
Gown of Spiders

Good job on the template!

Personal take:
Tightly themed, except as pointed out by Master Fust above, the Craft doesn't fit thematically. Climb, Craft (underground basket weaving), or Professional (fisherman) or (trapper) for their net abilities would tie in better. The swarm ability seems very SIAC and you had planty of wordcount to do something wondrous with it. What happens when the swarms are destroyed and you have no bones to return to as per swarm skin?

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2015

Andrew Judd wrote:

I'm posting mine now because I'm unlikely to even remember this thread once the competition starts. I was tempted to submit my Assault Apparatus as well; but the philosophy behind the price is unlikely to be accepted.

** spoiler omitted **

In general I'd say this violates two of their general rules.
  • It is too similar to the Apparatus of Kwalish (or whatever the generic SRD name is).
  • It is basically a mech so it violates the 'no magical versions of technological items' rule.

@Andrew Judd

Thomas' and greysector's thoughts are what I would point out first.

Second, this seems like it is custom made for a very specific villain. How many people know Undercommon? Could you actually sell this thing if you wanted? Would a party of 4-5 people have 2 of their members driving this thing all the time?

Also, how many levers can be operated when you have a high enough BAB to allow multiple attacks as a full round action. Can I operate as many levers as I have attacks?

It's not that I don't like the idea, there's just a lot of questions. Personally, I also wouldn't allow a mech suit in my home game unless we were in a very specific region.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015 aka FaxCelestis

Here's my Almost Ran:

Feral Heart
Aura moderate transmutation; CL 9th
Slot neck; Price 60,000 gp; Weight -- lbs.
Appearing as a piece of amber with a wolf's fang encased inside, a feral heart empowers its wearer with wild, primal energies in times of need. When activated, a feral heart pulsates with a red light.

When the wearer of a feral heart drops below half their maximum Hit Points (round down) and is not fatigued, they may spend a move action to activate the feral heart. On activation, the wearer becomes wolfish and predatory in appearance, and grows in size one category. Any adjacent creatures are pushed back as if they had been bull-rushed with a CMB of +15.

While transformed, the wearer gains DR/silver equal to 1/2 their level (rounded down), low-light vision, scent, two claw attacks that deal 1d8 damage, and a bite attack that deals 1d6 damage. If the wearer successfully strikes with two or more natural attacks in a round, they automatically rend for double claw damage. Creatures bitten by the wearer must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the wearer's level + the wearer's Constitution modifier) or contract rabies. Unlike most diseases, rabies contracted from this source has an immediate onset.

Because the feral heart makes one's mind feral as well, while active the wearer suffers a -4 penalty to Intelligence and cannot cast spells, read, speak, or use skills that require concentration.

This transformation lasts a number of rounds equal to the wearer's Constitution modifier plus 3, or until the wearer is raised above half his maximum Hit Points via healing, whichever comes first, after which the wearer is fatigued.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, aspect of the wolf, enlarge person; Cost 30,000 gp

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013 aka Virgil

Bah, forgot those were notes for a different format I was making it for (took a bit to even add the italics in BBCode), which is a bit different from Paizo's. Granted, I never put full work into it for editing because I already knew the price would be viewed as too little; and the accepted value would likely be in lesser artifact realm. Didn't think it was that similar to the Apparatus of the Crap for it to break the general rule; since its purpose and effects are drastically different, but seemed an ideal use for formatting.

I didn't think it necessary to answer the question for the levers. Pulling one is a full-round action, not an attack action, and there isn't debate as to whether iteratives apply to using any other full-round action.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's two concepts I didn't go with. I didn't even get as far as costing them out, because I realized there are fundamental flaws with the ideas in both cases.

Stirgewarden's Taper

This tall, waxen candle is infused with a mixture of bitter grass and
citrus oils and etched with protective runes. When lit, the taper
emits a sharp-smelling odor repellent to stirges and other
bloodsuckers. Creatures within ten feet of a burning stirgewarden's
must make a DC 14 Will save in order to use the Attach special
ability, and an additional save each round in order to remain
attached. The taper sheds light as a normal candle and burns for one
hour once lit.

[I ditched this because a) it's really an alchemical item rather than a wondrous one, and b) it's a real-world item (citronella candle) and there's a strong joke element involved. That said, I think it would actually be quite a useful piece of adventuring gear for low-level characters, and I might throw it into my own games as part of a gnomish peddler's stock or something.]

Sovereign's Seal

Usually made of heavyweight gold and molded with an official emblem, a sovereign's seal guarantees the authenticity of official correspondence and edicts. When used in conjunction with specially prepared sealing wax (see below [um, there isn't actually a "below," but the wax was going to have a per-use cost]), the sovereign's seal renders any single sheet of paper, papyrus, or vellum bearing the wax and emblem immune to tampering. The mark left by a sovereign's seal radiates faint abjuration magic and can be dispelled (DC 15). So long as a page bears the seal, ink and similar materials will not mark it, and any existing writing on the page cannot be erased or altered through non-magical means. The page may be damaged normally, but text protected by a sovereign's seal will not be rendered illegible unless the page is wholly destroyed. Spells that add or affect inscriptions (such as erase, explosive runes, sepia snake sigil, arcane mark, symbol, or glyph of warding) will fail unless the caster succeeds in a caster level check against DC 20, and success will remove the mark of the seal. More indirect forms of illusion or concealment, however, may succeed in disguising the page.

Existing text, magical or mundane, is not affected by the use of a sovereign's seal, and spells such as those mentioned above or illusory script will function normally after the application of the seal. Scrolls marked with a sovereign's seal also behave as expected (magical text will still vanish after activation) except that the scroll is somewhat more durable, tending to survive exposure to water, etc. For this reason cautious wizards have been known to stamp each spellbook page with a sovereign’s seal.

[This concept was born of my interest in cryptography and secure communications, and I think something like this *would* exist in a medieval world where magic was available, but it's basically just too fiddly an item for the minimal adventuring benefit it provides. It's more a worldbuilding/social-flavor kind of thing than something adventurers would actually care about.]

Both the above concepts suffer from the additional flaw that they're essentially defensive items, preventing a bad thing from happening rather than giving the characters any cool new options. They close off gameplay avenues rather than opening new ones up. So even though there's things about each idea that I like, I didn't end up developing them any further.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013 aka Virgil

James Raine wrote:
Feral Heart

They use a different dash for the weight, and if it's negligible you don't use 'lbs.' Are creatures bull-rushed before or after the growth (since you can grow to be adjacent), and does the effect provoke an AoO? Will an Int 4 character go into a coma when they use the item?

It's very rare, possibly even discouraged, for magic items to have their effects scale with the wearer; and you might do better presuming a level 9 user for that reason. I disagree with the non-scaling thing for many items, but wishes, fishes, you know the drill.

Well...this one might not be that close to an Almost Ran, because of the make-up of the item I only considered it for a second.

I personally love items that have an element of sacrifice and spur role-playing situations. I love items that push back the feeling that magical items are common...or mundane. This item is very close to an artifact in that it breaks rules and basically replaces character-death-by-damage to character-death-by-ability-damage. As well, the bonuses have the ability to stack well beyond what is normal for a magical item: these are things that are generally considered poor design; but, I enjoy the types of situations they create in my games. If I can add suspense to my game...I will.


Belt of Tenacity
Aura strong enchantment, evocation and necromancy; CL 12th
Slot belt; Price 120,000 gp; Weight 1 lb


Rough hewn and well worn, the belt of tenacity appears completely mundane in nature. Its coarse exterior belies a formidable power both advantageous and capricious to the most brave and tenacious of combatants. Taking 24 hours of continuous wear to attune to a user, the belt of tenacity confers upon an attuned wearer the following: Every time the wearer is reduced below 10 hp she gains 10 temporary hit points, +4 enhancement bonus to Strength, +2 morale bonus on attack rolls (all lasting 10 minutes) and 1d6 points of Constitution damage* (no save). The parasitic power of the belt of tenacity treats every instance of use as an immediate action--ignoring the normal limit of immediate actions in a turn. Similarly, consecutive triggering of the belt of tenacity allows the Strength and attack bonuses to stack cumulatively over multiple uses.

Powerful and dangerous, the belt of tenacity will resist being removed unless every opponent who has reduced the wearer below 10 hit points within the last 10 minutes is defeated. If the opponents have not been defeated the wearer must make a successful DC 20 Will save to remove the belt. Removing an attuned belt takes a full round action that provokes attacks of opportunity and breaks the attunement until it is worn again for a consecutive 24 hour period.

*Constitution damage dropping the wearer’s current hit points below 10 triggers the belt of tenacity again. Constitution damage dealt by the belt of tenacity cannot be healed magically.


Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, contingency, death knell, and geas, lesser; Cost 60,000 gp

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015 aka FaxCelestis

Ha! I made something that did something remarkably similar, ended up thinking it was too much of a weird rules area to mess around with. Your Con damage system is kind of interesting: mine involved unpreventably killing and disintegrating the user after a short duration.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Um, shouldn't you be saving your "almost ran" items until after the Round 1 deadline? Right now, you're just giving all the last-minute contestants a list of ideas they can steal, perfect, and submit as their own.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015 aka FaxCelestis, sir, make an excellent point.

I welcome the plagiarism.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Eric Morton wrote:
Um, shouldn't you be saving your "almost ran" items until after the Round 1 deadline? Right now, you're just giving all the last-minute contestants a list of ideas they can steal, perfect, and submit as their own.

Worse, you've just created a huge problem for anyone who was making finishing touches to their spider-themed item, or their werewolf themed item. Do they submit anyway and risk being seen as a plagiarist? Do they start over?

The second guessing sucks enough anyway, without this thread adding to it.

Good point. I am of the opinion that this thread should be locked; but since I just spent some time writing this reply, I might as well post it, I guess.

James Raine wrote:
Feral Heart

Does the wearer have to activate it immediately after he "drops" below half his maximum hit points, or did you mean "is" below?

Since "size one" is a real thing -- a dress size, a shoe size -- I have to stop and puzzle out your meaning; only for a fraction of a second, but still. It would be easier for me to read as "grows one category in size."

What if they're a Small gnome, or a human with reduce person on them (or a gnome with reduce person)? Do they still bull rush adjacent creatures by growing? What if they're a human with enlarge person on them -- does it stack and bump them up to Huge?

Are any or all of the natural attacks primary? As written, they always do the same amount of damage, regardless of whether the wearer is a reduced gnome growing up to Small, or a hill giant growing up to Huge. Why not just use the universal monster rules in the bestiary for bite and claw? And what is 1/2 of the level of a level 2 hill giant barbarian anyway -- do you mean total Hit Dice, or just class levels?

Incidentally, oracles with the lame curse become immune to the fatigued condition at level 5. Did you intend for them to be able to keep it up all day long, until they were healed?

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Locking thread temporarily. In the future, please refrain from these kinds of threads until the submission round is over.

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Unlocking this thread since submissions are closed for Round 1.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015 aka FaxCelestis

Hoorays! Let's get back to dissecting almost-rans.

Paizo Employee PostMonster General

Upon review we've decided this thread should remain closed until after voting is done for round 1.

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